Tips on giving up drinking: Since I have given up drinking I have noticed there have been a few people who have asked me “How did you do it?” Most people admire me, think I am completely crazy, or think I am now quite boring. Overall I mostly receive incredulous stares of disbelief.
“Wow, stop drinking, is that even possible?”
I am not bothered by how I am perceived as I know I am making the right choice for me. I have spent so many nights out, had so many shots of this and bottles of that, had so many tortuous hangovers, that finally I have decided enough is enough. Giving up drinking for me has been the biggest catalyst for change in so many areas of my life. I hope that I can encourage and motivate you to consider taking a break from drinking or thinking differently about alcohol. Recently my perspective of drinking has completely changed. Our social and daily drinking culture I felt has become a form of collective narcolepsy, in which we want to avoid our own realities. Not face the real issues, hide them under the rug, get that head back under the doona, do you know that feeling? I guess because most people are unhappy with their day to day lives. And a lot of people use alcohol to forget their problems, or at least put them on hold for the time being. Trust me, I know all about this feeling! I lost all my family in 4 short years, had relationship breakdowns and had numerous meltdowns. Debilitating moments when I couldn’t work, couldn’t face the world, sometimes couldn’t even do more than lie on the ground and cry. Yes it was that bad! Alcohol was a very good friend during this time. I would drink to get drunk, to forget, to escape my over thinking and never ending internal chatter, and to temporarily feel better about my very bleak situation. But now I am emerging as a different person, renewed, a metamorphosis into a healthier happier and smarter woman. And I really love these changes.
I decided to put a few tips and benefits together to help motivate you if this is what you want to do. There seems to be a lot of people out there who want to stop, or cut down, but just don’t know how to, or don’t believe that they can. At first it will be all about resisting the urge but then I hope you can;
“Make kicking addiction your predilection!”
Here are some tips to help you on your way:
1. Become very good friends with soda water. I love it. And there are no calories. I add a slice of lemon or if you want something sweeter choose any cordial. My current favourites are blackcurrant and peach iced tea.
2. At the start, avoid going to places where you know people will be drinking. Your resolve may not be so strong in the early days. I actually tried to give up a few times, and lapsed back to daily drinking and bingeing. Removing yourself from temptation will help.
3. Go to bed early. If you are in bed by 9 or 10pm you will naturally wake up early, and feel quite refreshed. Your sleeping patterns will improve and become more regular, because guess what? They don’t blow out every weekend til 4am due to that massive night out on the turps!
4. Remember books? I love reading. I can read 5 books at once and I still want more. Go to your local library, join up, it’s free. Take out all sorts of random books, anything that interests you either non-fiction or fiction. Biographies can be very inspiring. Also choose some on giving up drinking, overcoming addiction and any other self help book you think might be useful. There is so much good stuff out there! And it will really help. And now you can read before bed because you’re not smashed!
5. Get back into sport. Swim, run, walk, join a gym, join a club, go to a dance class, go cycling, do a yoga class. Find some physical sweaty activity that you like doing, or think you might like if it’s been awhile since you broke a sweat. Try roller-skating; remember how fun that used to be? And guess what? You can go out at night and drive there because you’re not tanked by 630pm anymore!
6. Join supportive groups like hello Sunday morning, check them out at helosundaymorning.org. They really helped me at the start as I realised there were other people out there like me who wanted to live their lives without alcohol. At the beginning I must admit I didn’t know too many who could live without alcohol. Being around like minded, motivated and happy people will really help change your life. Which leads me to my next tip…
7. Think about who you spend your time with. This might be tricky and brutal, but if you are hanging out with friends who only want to go to the pub to socialise it might be time to mix it up and make some new healthier friends. People who go to pubs generally want to drink. I feel now that pubs are pretty oppressive and depressing. Most people there have addiction issues, alcohol being the obvious one.
8. My final tip; believe in yourself. Believe that you can do it! Believe you are worth making these changes and becoming a better person and that you really do have the power and self control to say no to drink. For me, once I had made the switch in my mind set, I was done. To be honest in the first month I really only felt like a drink 2 or 3 times, and mostly this was in a social setting like a bar or fancy restaurant. So in the early day’s just remove yourself from all places you would associate with having a drink. That’s my tip!
Here are a few benefits you will gain from giving up alcohol, just to help persuade you a little further:
1. You will lose weight. Guaranteed. I have lost 5 kg in 6 weeks, so far! There is so much sugar in alcohol; I was knocking back sweet ciders and diet cokes and Malibu’s like nobody’s business! And piling on the weight. My excess fat is definitely starting to fall off.
2. You will have more money. In fact if you spend $200 a week on drinking, on average, some I know would be double that just on a weekend, that’s $10’400 a year. Enough money to take an around the world trip! Or upgrade your car, or do whatever you want really!
3. You get smarter. Seriously. My brain was so mushy and fuzzy most days. I would forget words, people’s names, and just felt like my brain was functioning really poorly. I feel so much better in brain health, my memory is better, my recall sharper, and look I am writing a blog now! That’s pretty smart!
4. You will have more energy. Oodles and noodles of energy. I am naturally very energetic but I experienced a huge change when I eliminated alcohol. I wake in the morning and want to get outside for a run. How annoying am I?
5. You will be more motivated. Alcohol is a depressant and man was I depressed! It really does have a way of keeping you down and making you feel like a huge inactive, vegetating sloth. It is actually a known depressant and I find it accentuates whichever feelings you have. So if you’re feeling a little flat, it will make you feel extremely flat as a tack; if you’re up, it could take you manically up hyperactively high, which usually has poor consequences associated. Just think poor decision making, impulsivity. Need I say more?
6. You will eat better. When you are more energetic, you exercise more, and then you want to eat better because you exercised and you don’t want to spoil all that hard work. And now you don’t binge out on kebabs and pizzas and chips and other high fat foods after a massive night out slaughtering yourself. Because you are tucked up in bed sleeping soundly sober!
7. You will become a more interesting person. Suddenly you have more free time on your hands, and with all this energy and ability to drive because local area. I have trips planned overseas, interstate, camping, road trips, and day trips, hot air ballooning, boat trips. Now that all sounds pretty interesting right? You too can plan amazing activities and explore nature in your surroundings. The key is get back to nature, and enjoy parks, beach, forest, lakes, anything in nature really. It’s all pretty awesome, and really makes you feel amazing.
I hope that my article has really helped you think about drinking and will help you if you are deciding to take a break from the bottle. Let me know how you go and what part of the journey you are on!
Remember it is always the darkest before the light of dawn.
Best wishes to you! Anita xx